Over 100,000 people took to the streets across Germany this weekend to protest against the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party after reports emerged that AfD politicians had discussed plans to deport millions of immigrants and their German-born descendants. The protests reflect growing concern over the AfD’s extremist rhetoric and ties to neo-Nazi groups.
AfD Meeting On “Remigration” Sparks Outrage
Reports first emerged last week that AfD politicians in the state of Thuringia had met to discuss plans for the “reemigration” of immigrants and their descendants who are not considered sufficiently “assimilated” into German culture. Details included:
- The meeting involved prominent AfD politician Björn Höcke, who leads the party’s extremist “Wing” faction
- Plans discussed involved revoking citizenship and work permits to force targeted groups to leave Germany
- Up to 18 million people could be impacted, including German citizens with an “immigrant background”
The news sparked outrage across the political spectrum in Germany. Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck called the AfD an “authoritarian and inhuman” party seeking to undermine democracy. Center-right politicians also condemned the rhetoric.
Nationwide Protests Attract Huge Crowds
In response, massive protests were organized across Germany this weekend:
- Over 100,000 marched in Berlin, with Chancellor Olaf Scholz attending
- 50,000 protested in Hamburg, joined by Mayor Peter Tschentscher
- 30,000 rallied in Frankfurt, including Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock
- 15,000 gathered in Cologne, 20,000 in Stuttgart, and 17,000 in Munich
Other major protests occurred in Hanover, Bremen, Leipzig and dozens of other German cities. Protest signs condemned racism, right-wing extremism and the threat to democracy.
|Estimated Protest Size
Demands To Ban The AfD
The protests amplified demands that the AfD be banned outright as an anti-constitutional threat. Vice Chancellor Habeck stated “Germany must protect itself” against those seeking to undermine democracy.
However, experts warn that banning the party could be counterproductive by driving extremists underground. The AfD remains part of coalition governments in German states like Thuringia.
This weekend’s massive turnout signals Germany’s ongoing struggle to contain a resurgent far-right element, over 75 years since the defeat of the Nazis.
The controversy will increase pressure on mainstream conservatives to further distance themselves from the AfD ahead of state elections this year. However the AfD is expected to continue promoting anti-immigration rhetoric and ties with extremists.
Chancellor Scholz praised protesters and promised to strengthen laws against far-right extremism. But permanently marginalizing movements like the AfD will likely require sustained political will and public mobilization for years to come.
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